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FORFEIT: BIG EAST Reverses COVID Cancelation Policy (UPDATED 12/23)

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The “Big West” changed policies, and it looks like the other conferences took note

Villanova v Georgetown

UPDATE 6PM 12/22: The BIG EAST powers-that-be have caved under the pressure of Casual Hoya and Kente Korner, and games canceled due to COVID will not be forfeited. It also appears there will be an attempt to reschedule/make-up the games that were missed.

The lack of unanimity is troublesome. Let’s pray their university does not have a headline-making outbreak of Omicron.

Get off your high-horses, help someone out, and play the damn games.

UPDATE 12/23: Here is the BIG EAST press release:

NEW YORK (December 23, 2021) – The BIG EAST Conference today announced a modification to its game cancellation policy for men’s and women’s basketball for the 2021-22 season. The adjustment was the result of the recent sudden and significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases nationally and within BIG EAST programs due to the spread of the Omicron variant.

Under the modified policy, a Conference game will be canceled in the event a school has fewer than seven scholarship players and one countable coach available for a game. The BIG EAST Conference Office will attempt to reschedule any such game(s) in accordance with parameters approved by BIG EAST Directors of Athletics. In the event the rescheduling parameters cannot be fulfilled, the canceled game(s) will be designated as a no contest.

To date, four BIG EAST men’s Conference games had been designated as forfeitures under the previous COVID-19 game cancellation policy. The forfeiture classification will be removed from these games, and efforts are now underway to reschedule them at a later date. No women’s games to date have been designated as forfeitures.

The BIG EAST Conference, its member institutions and the Conference’s Health and Safety Working Group will continue to monitor the landscape and determine whether additional scheduling policy changes may be warranted in the future.

December 22, 2021 — The BIG EAST, like many leagues and conference right now, is experiencing a dilemma based in COVID-related issues where games are being canceled, losses assigned, and revenue from ticket sales and television may be lost. The problem boils down to a n autumn-made policy where, if one team acknowledges they do not have the requisite number of players and/or staff test negative, the game is forfeited and never rescheduled. It’s widely acknowledged that such a policy today just stinks for everyone.

What started out as a plan to motivate teams to be vaccinated has become an automatic loss for unfortunate programs who have almost inevitably come into contact with the Omicron variant. While nothing is definitive, it appears that even all-vaccinated teams are susceptible to several players at least testing positive for COVID even after a jab and/or booster. Fans hope no one is suffering, and the spread should be stopped after a positive test. Still, this policy is not fair to players, not practical for fans, and surely is disappointing the TV channels (FOX).

Of course, we can easily say that Georgetown fans would be just as righteous about this injustice even if the Hoyas game against Providence had not been canceled due to lack of players. DePaul’s AD has taken a stand.

The cancelation problem is widespread and not going anywhere anytime soon. Andy Katz reported for the NCAA that “More than 100 games have been scrubbed for both the men and the women since Saturday, and scheduling on the run is back in fashion, with impromptu matches arranged 72 hours before tipoff.” That’s insane.

The BIG EAST men’s schedule has lost two DePaul games, a Seton Hall game, and a Georgetown game to this policy. Other conferences have had issues as well, but it seems like east-coast programs (and cities) have been impacted the most. Again, this is a testing policy to curb the spread and not necessarily rooted in unavailability due to symptoms. It needs to be readdressed and these games need to be rescheduled, if possible.

The ACC announced today their new policy regarding COVID:

ACC MODIFIES COVID-19 GAME RESCHEDULING POLICY

GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Wednesday that it has modified its 2021-22 COVID-19 rescheduling policy.

The decision was unanimously supported by the league’s athletics directors as a result of the current rise in COVID cases and its impact on winter sport programs. If possible, games that cannot be played as scheduled will be rescheduled. If a game cannot be played and cannot be rescheduled, it will be considered a no contest.

For men’s and women’s basketball, a team must have a roster minimum of seven game available student-athletes and one countable coach to play a game. If a team does not have the requisite number of participants, and elects not to play, the game shall be a no contest. If a team has the requisite number of participants and does not participate, the game will be declared a forfeit. This policy shall be retroactive to any results beginning with the 2021 ACC winter sports schedule.

Finally, the ACC’s Medical Advisory Group continues to monitor and discuss the current circumstances and, if necessary, may make adjustments to the current protocols.

The Big West and the Big 12 announced similar policy on Tuesday, but only requiring 6 scholarship players and a coach.

Meanwhile, the MVC is sticking with their plan. Brilliant.

It’s seems like only a matter of time for the BIG EAST to join the policy changes (UPDATE: They did). We’ll see. Stay safe and healthy this holiday season!